Homelessness and lack of affordable housing is a nationwide crisis, but one nonprofit agency, Brookview House, is a gem in Dorchester that is more than just a gleam of hope. For 25 years, Brookview House has served as an integral step to a brighter future for many mothers and their children.
Started in 1990, The Brookview model was created to address homelessness by providing housing and stabilization services to mothers and their children and equip both with education and skills to live independently and successfully.
Moriah Wiggins is just one of the countless stellar examples of the Brookview experience. At the very young age of seven years old, she lived at Brookview House with her mother, and younger brother. In 2003, her family moved into permanent housing.
Today, Moriah is a sophomore at UMass Dartmouth where she is studying bioengineering. She did so well during her freshman year that she finished the school year with a 3.8 GPA. She is flourishing and continues to beat the high statistics of homeless children’s low school performance rates contributed by unstable living conditions, emotional and behavioral problems and learning disabilities.
Brookview House youth development programs annually serve 250 children between the ages of 6-19 years old and are offered age-specific educational programs. This summer, in partnership with The Haley House in Roxbury, young participants were introduced to a variety of vegetables and other ingredients. Presented with food recipes, they learned food preparation and cooking techniques.
Girls enrolled in the youth program took part in the immersion program with Girls Who Code, a nationally recognized organization that educates young girls in the areas of Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The unwavering support and talents of volunteers are also incredibly crucial to the growth of both the adult and youth program participants.
Diane Phillips, Moriah’s mother, attended customized education and training programs that instill life skills and promote job development. As part of the mission to teach self-sufficiency and provide stabilization, workshops on landlord-tenant rules and regulations, computer and also financial literacy contribute greatly to Brookview House’s 92 percent success rate of mothers and their children leaving homelessness permanently.
Brookview House is growing. They are set to build a new building at 35 Hansborough St. in Dorchester. The ground breaking ceremony is expected to be held in 2016 and open its doors in 2017.
This year, Brookview House is celebrating its silver anniversary in style. On Fri., Sept. 25, Dr. Katrina Armstrong, Physician-in-Chief at Mass. General, will be presented with the “Inspirational Woman of the Year” award. Anniversary honorees are Dani Monroe, CenterFocus International CEO, and Eastern Bank Senior Vice President Pam Feingold. A tribute video by state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry— a staunch supporter— will be presented at the anniversary event. Reverend Liz Walker of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church will host the special night.
Brookview House Executive Director Deborah Hughes beams with pride over their long history of success. “I am humbled that Brookview House has been around for 25 years serving women and their families in Boston. Our model has helped countless families thrive at home, at school and in life. It’s time to take this model to a statewide level so that all women and children across the commonwealth experiencing homelessness have the same opportunity to succeed,” she said.
For more information on the Sept. 25 event, please call 617-265-2965 or visit online at brookviewhouse.org.
Chanie Infante Louisma is a Dorchester resident with a passion for working with people. You can connect with her on Twitter: @LifeByZen.